Dot Smithwick and Diana Gillam (Douglas Lees) 

(Steeplechase Times and other sources)

Veteran steeplechase trainer Dorothy “Dot” Smithwick died at her Middleburg farm Thursday morning, June 16. She was 82. Smithwick campaigned horses on the NSA and Virginia Point-to-Point circuits for decades. She owned Sunny Bank Farm, the iconic 1,650-acre farm that sits adjacent to Glenwood Park in Loudoun County, Va.

Sunny Bank had an open-door policy, taking in horses and horsemen and providing a haven for steeplechasing and fox hunting. Some stayed for a weekend, others stayed a lifetime. Alumni include Gregg Ryan, Julie Gomena, Joe Davies, Woods Winants, Eben Sutton, Anne Knoeller, Joe and Ted Stettinius and Smithwick’s sons Speedy and Roger.

A member of the Virginia Steeplechase Hall of Fame, Smithwick won two races this spring with Indian Run Farm’s Swimming River, winning the steeplethon at Middleburg and at the Virginia Gold Cup.

Career highlights include winning the Temple Gwathmey with Big Estero, the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup with Dr. Ramsey and multiple races with Rockaround, Quixotic, Topeador and Double Redouble.

(Douglas Lees) 
Daughter of Samuel Hamilton Rogers Fred, Smithwick graduated from Vassar College in 1950. Ahe was married to the late Hall of Fame trainer Mikey Smithwick.  
Smithwick was the king of American steeplechase trainers, winning a dozen National Steeplechase Association championships between 1957 and 1970 (including seven in a row from 1964-70). Six of his horses earned nine steeplechase championships, with three (Neji, Bon Nouvel and Jay Trump) being elected into Thoroughbred Racing’s Hall of Fame. Smithwick was enshrined there in 1971.

Before becoming a trainer, Mikey Smithwick gained a reputation as a top amateur steeplechase jockey. He won the Maryland Hunt Cup  a record six times with Peterski in 1948, Pine Pep in 1949, 1950 and 1952, Marchized in 1954 and Fluctuate in 1960. Other highlights included three wins in the My Lady’s Manor, five in the Grand National timber race and three in the Virginia Gold Cup.

Mrs. Smithwick is survived by sons, D.M. “Speedy” Smithwick Jr. and Roger Smithwick and granddaughters Kathy and Patricia Smithwick.

Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 25 at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Middleburg. A reception at Sunny Bank Farm will follow the services. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Steeplechase Injured Jockey’s Fund (P.O. Box 270, Northville, NY 12134) or the Goose Creek Foundation (P.O. Box 1178, Middleburg, VA 20118).